Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Virginia Senate candidates out with new ads
In Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, both Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine are out with new TV ads today, in advance of a debate tonight.
Kaine’s new spot features popular U.S. Senator Mark Warner, also a Democrat. In it, Warner says both men — both former governors — cut their own pay (as did Allen) and Kaine says they both worked across party lines.
“We were a great team in Richmond,” Warner says in the ad.
“And we’ll be a great team in Washington,” Kaine says. As he and Warner stand in front of Virginia’s Capitol building, Warner adds that he and Kaine will “work together to restore our fiscal responsibility, grow our economy, and create jobs.”
You can watch the Kaine ad here.
The Allen campaign responded that Kaine cut his pay less than either Warner or Allen did.
“Before there was Mark Warner or Tim Kaine, there was George Allen who set the example for them as the first Governor to cut his own pay by 10 percent,” said Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis in an email. “George Allen also reduced the size of state government by 9 percent, lowered taxes and helped Virginia create 300,000 jobs. That’s one example Virginians wish Tim Kaine had followed. Instead, he left Virginia with 100,000 jobs lost, closed rest stops, skyrocketing tuition, and a unanimously rejected budget containing tax hikes on people making as little as $17,000 a year.”
The Kaine campaign later pointed out that Kaine cut his pay as lieutenant governor also, and reiterated a campaign talking point that Allen, as senator, voted for congressional pay raises, thus raising his own pay.
Allen’s new ad focuses on the potential job losses that could come if the “sequestration” cuts to federal spending, especially defense, take place early next year.
Allen has run an ad on that topic before. The sequestration cuts are part of a bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling approved by Congress last year. The cuts would involve billions of dollars over the next decade, about half from defense. Members of congress who approved them didn’t intend for them to take effect; they were meant to be a threat that would prompt lawmakers into negotiating a better deal to reduce the debt and deficit. But that hasn’t happened yet, and the cuts would start taking effect in early January.
Allen opposed the deal from the start, while Kaine supported it because it averted a national debt default. Kaine has said he doesn’t support the actual sequestration cuts, and has criticized Allen for a position that Kaine says would have led to a default and leaves no room for negotiation.
This Allen ad says Kaine supported the debt deal “that will impose devastating defense cuts, threatening Virginia jobs” and that he “attacked” Allen for opposing it. It says Allen has a plan that “stops the defense cuts, creates jobs, and grows our economy.”
That plan, spelled out in documentation accompanying the ad script from the campaign, is to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, which Allen says would save $1 trillion; eliminate “waste, fraud and abuse” in federal agencies; and expand drilling for oil and gas both offshore and on land, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
You can see the Allen ad here.
The Kaine campaign hit back at the Allen ad, saying it mischaracterizes Kaine’s position on sequestration.
“George Allen was willing to let our government default on its obligations rather than join his own party’s leaders in a compromise — a position that led to a downgrade of our nation’s credit rating,” said Kaine communications director Brandi Hoffine in an email. “So it’s not surprising that the ideas he’s furthering make deep defense and domestic cuts, more likely, not less.”
Both men have been spending millions on TV and other advertising in this race. Kaine announced last week that he was upping his ad buy by $3 million through the end of the campaign — now a month away — for a total of $7.5 million. Allen has reserved more than $5 million in TV and radio time.